Easy Vegan Asian Stir Fry [Oil-Free]

This Easy Vegan Asian Stir Fry that’s oil-free is one of our staple recipes. We eat this one usually once and sometimes twice per week. We typically serve it over healthy brown rice, but sometimes we eat it plain or over some boiled yellow potatoes.

We almost always have the main ingredients on-hand: broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, mushrooms, onions, red cabbage and garlic. But feel free to use whatever you have on-hand or need to use before it goes bad, like green peas, snap-peas, carrots, sprouts, spinach, etc. Be creative!

This recipe has lots of protein, fiber, iron and enough vitamin C for 3 days RDV. With the soy sauce and salt, it’s a little high in sodium, so feel free to skip the salt and/or use low sodium soy sauce.

Like most of our recipes nowadays, we don’t use any oil in this steam fry. Without the rice, this recipe only has 155 calories, but add 1 tbsp of olive oil and you nearly double that. There’s simply no need to add all those extra calories from a liquid that’s 100% processed refined fat. Besides, lots of evidence suggests oil is “The Vegan Killer.”

Instead, we sauté using our homemade Easy Vegetable Broth from Scraps. It doesn’t add many calories, but it does add a lot of delicious flavor.

Since this recipe is so low in calories, but high in nutrient density, it’s a great weight loss recipe. Skip the brown rice and eat it plain to reduce the calories even more.


Vegan Black Eyed Peas

Vegan Black Eyed Peas PinThis Vegan Black Eyed Peas recipe is one of my favorite dishes, even though I didn’t like black eyed peas before switching to a plant-based diet. Along with cucumbers, beets and onions, they’ve joined the growing list of foods that I didn’t like before, but love now.

Black eyed peas are loaded with protein, fiber and iron. One serving (about 1 cup) has 18 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and 42% RDV of Iron with only 263 calories. That means this recipe is not only nutrient dense and filling, but it’s also relatively low calorie. That makes it a great weight loss recipe, too!

Black eyed peas are a staple in southern cooking. My mom’s side of the family comes from a small Missouri (pronounced Missour-a in my family) town so we know southern cookin’.

When I was a kid, mom always made black eyed peas on New Years day. It’s an old southern tradition that’s said to bring good luck throughout the year. Even though I hated black eyed peas back then, she still made me eat a spoonful…just in case.

Well, now I love them and Amelia is kind enough to make them for me on the regular. We normally eat them with a salad, but they would also pair well with another southern favorite, our Vegan Cornbread.


Vegan Refried Beans

Vegan Refried Beans PinAmelia’s Oil-Free Vegan Refried Beans are so good you won’t be able to stop eating them! They require very little effort to prepare and they’re amazingly delicious.

And did I mention they’re oil-free? That means no empty calories from oil, which is commonly added to canned refried beans.

This recipe calls for canned pinto beans, but it’s also delicious with black or canary beans.

If you’re using Dried Beans, soak them for at least 4 hours, then rinse and drain. Cook over low heat for about 2 hours in enough water to cover the beans. You want the beans to be soft. We usually do this the day before we want to make the refried beans so they’re good to go. You don’t need to rinse and drain your cooked beans…you can use the liquid from cooking previously for your refried beans.


Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl

Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl PinThis Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl is easy, fast, oil-free, low-calorie, nutritious and delicious. It’s a great recipe if you’re in a hurry and watching your calories.

Since I stepped up my gym workouts, I’ve been wanting a high protein lunch that’s fast and easy to prepare. I made this one before my workout so it was ready when I got back from the gym. If I don’t plan ahead like this, I find myself eating the first thing I see when I get home instead of the best thing for a post-workout meal.

This is the second Buddha Bowl I’ve created after Amelia encouraged me to take on this Buddha Bowl project. The last one was the Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl and it was also amazing!

Most Buddha Bowls are neatly arranged with each ingredient placed separately in the bowl over rice, quinoa, barley, greens, etc. But it takes a lot more time (and pots) to prepare everything individually and assemble them when everything is done. I prefer the one-pot variety to save time and generate fewer dirty dishes. Maybe my next one will follow the rules…but I’m not much of a rule follower…

I created this Buddha Bowl with the ingredients we had on hand. We always have onions and garlic, but today we also had broccoli and red cabbage. They add a lot of color and antioxidants.

Red cabbage is one of the best foods you can eat for preventing and fighting cancer. The brighter color a food is, the more antioxidants it has. That means red cabbage has more than green cabbage. Plus, I like the taste of red cabbage better than green, although both are delicious in the right recipe.

I like to sauté my onions and garlic separately so they get a little extra tender, but you can probably put everything in the pot at the same time and cook it all together. That’ll make it a little easier.

Steam frying is the key to sauteing veggies without oil. You need to use a generous amount of vegetable broth, and cover the pan so the moisture doesn’t evaporate. We try to cook without oil as much as possible, and there’s really no need to use it when you’re sauteing veggies. It just adds a lot more calories without much other benefit.

Despite the common myth, your body does not need fat from processed oils. You get all the fat you need from unprocessed plants. Oils may even contribute to heart disease and several kinds of cancer.

If you don’t have any chipotle seasoning on hand, you can swap that out for chili powder or some spicy Thai hot sauce.

You can eat this dish without the brown rice…it’ll just decrease the number of servings. Personally, I love brown rice, and it’s far better for you than white rice. Brown rice has been shown to help with weight loss and type 2 diabetes, while white rice can make both of those worse.

However you decide to prepare this Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl recipe, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the variety of tastes, textures and colors. Let us know how it turned out in the comments below!


Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl

Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl PinThis Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl recipe was inspired by a trip to a plant-based restaurant in Cuenca, Ecuador. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Cuenca and they have several Buddha Bowls on their menu.

The co-owner and chef, Paul, backpacked throughout South America and ended up in Montevideo, Uruguay where he got a job as a chef in a plant-based restaurant. He returned to Cuenca with one of his co-workers and they opened their own plant-based restaurant called Café Libre. It’s what I would call gourmet vegan food (except for a couple of items that contain eggs).

Not only is the food delicious, it’s also presented in a way that is sure to draw your phone from your pocket so you can take a picture and share it with your friends on Facebook. It’s that good!

This Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl recipe is my own creation, made with some of my favorite ingredients and spices. Amelia usually makes our new recipes, but she put me in charge of the Buddha bowls since I love them so much.

We had some cauliflower that needed to be used so that’s where I started. Paul has a chickpea Buddha Bowl on the Café Libre menu and we had a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in the cupboard so that was ingredient number two.

We always have onions, garlic and chili peppers on hand so those were natural choices. I also like to add mushrooms for their chewy texture. Baby bellas are our favorite type and we usually have some of those in the fridge.

Swiss chard is a very nutritious dark leafy green, and recipes like this are a good way to add dark leafy greens to your diet. Kale, spinach or a combination would also be great. You could also skip the swiss chard and pair this with a dark leafy green Hearty Side Salad or a low calorie Spinach Salad.

Most of the time, we sauté with vegetable broth to reduce the calories (1 tablespoon has 120 calories) and also because oil isn’t a whole food. There is also a lot of evidence that oil may be as bad for our health as any other fatty food. Dr. Michael Greger thinks of “oil as the table sugar of the fat kingdom” and Mic the Vegan calls it the Vegan Killer.

From a calorie perspective alone, we think it’s worth avoiding oil if possible. And there’s absolutely no need to sauté with oil when steam frying with vegetable broth (or vegetable bouillon or water or wine) works just as well.

The remaining ingredients give the mixture its flavor and a lot of extra nutritional benefits. Lime is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help with weight loss, turmeric has been shown to fight cancer and spices in general are loaded with antioxidants that have been shown to fight aging and all sorts of cancers.

I like a little sweetness to go with my spicy so I added some agave. Normally I would use maple syrup, but we didn’t have any (sniff sniff). You can skip this to reduce the calories and the liquid sugar. You can also skip the salt if that’s a concern (especially if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease), but it helps bring out the other flavors.

This is a great one-pot lunch recipe that you can make ahead of time and eat it cold or heat it up the next day. I made this a two serving recipe, but if you serve it over 3/4 cup of brown rice, you can get 4 servings out of it.

This Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl recipe is a nutrition powerhouse that’s loaded with healthy sources of protein, carbs and fat. It’ll keep you satisfied and powered until dinner. Enjoy!


Vegan Guacamole

Vegan Guacamole PinThis Vegan Guacamole recipe is simple and delicious. It’s sure to be a big hit at your next party or gathering of friends and family…even non-vegans will love it!

Guac is a special treat, especially with the high cost of avocados in the states. But if you have a craving for a rich, savory appetizer that’s perfect for your corn chips, look no further. This recipe is amazing!

You start with 3 medium sized avocados that are pretty soft when squeezed. That means they need to be ripe, but not over-ripe or they turn black and stringy on the inside, which isn’t very appetizing. Scoop out the yummy goodness into a large mixing bowl and discard the seeds.

Some people suggest saving the seeds and putting them in your guac to keep it from turning brown, but that’s an old wives-tale. The lime juice will keep your guac from turning brown, not the seed.

The reason guac (and avocados) turn brown is because of oxidation. Since the flesh of avocados have very few antioxidants (like apples and bananas), they turn brown when exposed to oxygen (the air we breath). The seed doesn’t generate a magical force field alla Star Trek to keep the oxygen from touching the guac. That would be cool, but that’s not physically possible. Instead, the lime juice is loaded with antioxidants and it coats the guac, preventing it from being assaulted by oxygen.

Squeeze the lime juice over the avocado and blend with a fork or potato masher until smooth but still lumpy. Fresh lime juice is ideal, rather than the lime juice from concentrate. If you’re going to fork out the dough for avocados, just buy a lime while you’re at it.

Finely dice a medium onion, a medium tomato (seeds removed) and a small jalapeño (seeds removed). If your jalapeño is large, you may only want to use half of it. That depends on how spicy you like your guac. Add these to your avocado/lime juice mixture.

It’s important to remove the seeds from your tomato or your guac may be too runny/liquidy. The seeds also don’t look great in the finished product. You can peel the tomato if you don’t like the peeling, but if you finely chop the tomato, it’s not necessary.

Mince your garlic and add it to the mixture as well. I used 3 cloves of garlic, but you can use more or less to your taste. 3 is usually my minimum for any recipe since Amelia and I love garlic.

The spices (salt, cumin and cayenne pepper) add a lot of flavor. I especially like the taste of cumin and love any recipe with it, so it’s extra good in this Vegan Guacamole. Add your spices to the bowl with everything else and stir to combine well.

Optionally, some fresh chopped cilantro would go great, but we didn’t have any on hand.

Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour for all the flavors to combine.

This Vegan Guacamole recipe goes great with your favorite corn chips, oil-free corn tortilla corn chips or as a condiment on your Burrito Bowl or your favorite sandwich.


Vegan Black Bean Soup

Vegan Black Bean Soup PinThis Vegan Black Bean Soup recipe is like a party in your mouth. It’s loaded with savory flavors and lots of protein. Top it with a little diced avocado for some heart-healthy fat and you’ve got one delicious bowl of soup!

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber. That’s why they’re such an important part of a plant-based diet. It can take your body a few weeks (or months) to adjust to the flatulence caused by beans in some people, but the short-term discomfort is well-worth the long-term health benefits.

According to the Harvard Health Letter, “A little bit of extra flatulence could be an indication that you’re eating the way you should!” So if you accidentally let one slip while waiting in line at the bank, just smile and say “Hey. I’m plant-based.”

This Vegan Black Bean Soup pairs well with a salad or cornbread.


Cauliflower Quinoa

Cauliflower Quinoa PinThis Cauliflower Quinoa recipe is a real palate pleaser. It’s savory and delicious, with lots of protein and other nutrients, but without many calories. One cup is only about 183 calories. That makes it a great weight loss recipe.

Due to its high protein content and nutritional value, quinoa has risen in popularity over the last few years, which has also led to an increase in its price. Quinoa can be quite expensive now, but Whole Foods has a Super Grains blend that’s much less expensive. Feel free to substitute that for pure quinoa.

This is a great one dish meal for lunch, or paired with a soup or side salad if you have a bigger appetite.


Vegan Locro de Papa Soup

Vegan Locro de Papa Soup PinThis Vegan Locro de Papa Soup recipe is a plant-based version of a traditional Ecuadorian potato soup. It’s a delicious and satisfying soup for a cold rainy day.

We learned about Locro de Papa Soup on our first trip to Ecuador. Due to a language barrier, we didn’t know it was traditionally made with cheese. We asked the server in our broken spanglish if it had cheese, but he must not have understood us because he assured us it didn’t. I’m pretty sure it did, though.

Despite having cheese (we think), our very first traditional Ecuadorian dish was a real palate pleaser! So Amelia decided to figure out how to make it “sin queso” and this was her creation thanks to a little help from Laylita’s Recipes (an Ecuadorian native from Vilcabamba).

The traditional recipe calls for little cubes of mozzarella or similar cheese, but we’ve replaced that with cubes of tofu to give it the same texture without the saturated fat. It’s best to use organic tofu if you can find it. Most tofu sold in grocery stores in the states is organic.

The key to getting the traditional locro color and taste is the achiote powder. We had a hard time finding this in Denver, but we eventually found some in a Whole Foods. Two of the three Whole Foods and none of the other grocery stores we checked carried it.

We used olive oil to saute the onions and garlic, but you can replace that with a 1/4 cup of veggie broth to make this an oil-free dish.

Like any soup, this pairs well with a salad or some whole grain bread for dipping.


Popcorn with Lime Juice

Popcorn with Lime Juice PinThis Popcorn with Lime Juice recipe is a great low calorie snack. The lime juice gives the popcorn a delicious flavor with minimal calories and some extra Vitamin C.

For oil-free popcorn, use an air popper (without the butter, obviously). Or, you can make it in a pan on the stove using 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. That adds some additional calories and oil certainly isn’t a whole food, but we haven’t figured out how to make oil-free popcorn on the stove yet. If  you know how, please let us know!

We learned about the lime juice trick on a trip to Ecuador. Some restaurants serve popcorn with lime wedges as a table snack. I don’t know why we never thought of squeezing fresh lime juice over popcorn since we love corn chips with lime, but it never occurred to us.

The lime juice gives the popcorn a tangy, almost buttery, flavor. It also gives something for your salt to stick to, if you like salt on your popcorn.

We recommend using organic popcorn.

Popcorn with Lime Juice not only tastes better than the conventional topping, but it’s also much lower calorie and healthier. Enjoy!